My wife spoke to me this evening about my blog. She finally read one of my posts. As fate would have it, the title that lured her in was “My Rape Story“. I asked her what she thought of it and she proceeded to tell me how pissed off she was that I had not shared this with her first. I was devastated. I had shared it with her, but never in my life had I revisited all the details – until this post. I thought to myself that I have just opened up the single most painful experience of my life and all she can think about is ‘first dibbs’!
I stormed out of the room thinking that this was a feat of such colossal ass-hattery that I would need to call The Smithsonian Instituion to borrow the world’s largest caliper, to accurately measure this festering boil. I began drawing up plans to use my office as my new residence and started measuring for the installation of a Murphy bed and a small refrigerator.
I was on hold with the cable company to schedule and install date for a separate service feed into the room on either next Tues. or Wed. morning, when this woman walked into the office. I recognized her immediately from the portrait on my wall, it was my wife. She asked me if I wanted to spend time with her. Clutching my GPS device and pre-dialing 911 on my phone, I went along to see where this possible abduction was going to lead. I had seen enough gangster movies to know that public places are safest, so I sat down in the kitchen in plain view of a dog and two cats.
She made the first move and approached me to hug me and tell me how sorry she was for what happened to me as a child. I did not expect this move and it caught me off guard. Assuming we were ‘all good’, I made a critical mistake – I opened my mouth and said what I was thinking. I knew better than to make such a rookie mistake, something a newlywed might do. I am a 10 year veteran. I blurted out the words “I’m angry, too…”
I would not speak again for 20 minutes.
My initial strategy was to find a way to finish the sentence that I had mistakenly begun. Perhaps, I thought, if she heard the whole thing…if she heard my experience…then, this situation might be all cleared up. This strategy failed me, much as Napoleon’s designs at Waterloo failed him.
First, she pinned me down with arrows in the shape of facts. She pointed out how I was painting her out to be some dragon of intimacy rejection while I was completely disregarding her attempts and spending time with me. Then she recalled my own surliness and focus on blogging, work, other things. She had me pinned down with things that were true and I was unable to mount a charge.
Suddenly, she broke through my flank, as the Prussian troops at Waterloo. She told me that she missed the intimacy, she could clearly see that I was capable of sharing my actual feelings and I was off in some electronic world shop window rather than sharing it with her. When the cannons fell silent and at last I could speak – I was alone and unarmed in the wreckage of my failed campaign to tell her how much she pissed me off.
Unlike Napoleon, I was unwilling to face exile. Knowing that cable would take another full week, I struck a new strategy. I would apologize and admit she was right. I began my counter maneuver by telling her that I could see her point and if I were in her position, I would feel the same way. It was her turn to be stunned. Looking at me, mute, blinking and unable to speak – I knew that I had found some way out of my own disaster. I decided to be honest about my feelings to her and consider how she might in turn feel.
As I danced around the ashes of my failed campaign, I felt like Kwai Chang Caine in the Kung Fu temple after having learned a long painful lesson at the hand of a blind monk. My adversary had now become my master and I listened to her description of how hard it is to find me emotionally. Perhaps sensing my failed military campaign metaphor, she told me that I am the Where’s Waldo of emotions. She said that just when she thinks she’s found me, hiding in a Roman Coliseum, she has to begin looking all over again in an Egyptian fleet.
Listening to her wisdom, I lit the candles in the temple of marriage.